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12. East Transept

East Transept doorway
Exit the Chapel of St. Joseph down the steps into the east transept (section crossing the cathedral's main body, or nave, and giving the whole building the shape of a cross). At the doorway is the statue of St. Paul, sculpted in relief, holding a scroll of letters (epistles) and the sword representing God's word ("a two-edged sword"), which he proclaimed throughout the Roman Empire. The sword also reminds us of his martyrdom in Rome. It is thought that Paul was beheaded by the Roman authorities. On either side are two other witnesses of Christ: John the Baptist (right), who directed his own disciples to "Behold the Lamb of God," and Mary Magdalen (left), the disciple first sent by Christ to announce his Resurrection.

Statue of St. Paul


The statue of St. Paul serves as a link with the cathedral exterior, where the tympanum (area above the doorway) narrates three episodes in his life. Portraits of Bishops Wigger and O'Connor are also on the exterior, upper left and upper right, respectively.

The interior tympanum celebrates God's Revelation through figures of Hebrew Scriptures, most of them encountered in the Bible as youths: Solomon, Joseph, Daniel, Judith with the head of Holofernes, Tobit, Samuel, and Samson. At the peak is the boy Jesus, flanked by images of David and Susanna.

Stained glass windows fill the cathedral with beauty, filtering the sun's light in myriad colors. Light is a metaphor for God's grace, which comes to us filtered in myriad ways through the world itself, the person of Christ, the words of Scripture, and the lives of others. A rose window is circular and elaborate design expresses the intricate yet unified mystery of God and the universe. Franz Zettler of Munich, Germany, crafted these rose windows, considered among the finest in the world.

East Rose Window
The east rose window, especially brilliant in the light of the rising sun, is titled "Our Lord with the Four Evangelists." The emblem IHS symbolizes the central position of Christ in salvation history and in the life of the Christian. Symbols of Jesus' Passion surround it. Christ as the Lamb sacrificed and victorious is at the top, attended by angels and the four Evangelists (in trifoil and quatrefoil flowers, clockwise from upper right): Luke, John, Matthew, and Mark. The lancet (pointed) windows beneath this rose display youthful saints: Cecilia, Tarcisius, Agnes, Aloysius, Thérèse, Stanislaus Kostka, and Maria Goretti.